While most people recognize drug abuse problems related to illegal drugs, many people fail to recognize that certain prescription drugs (and even over the counter medicines) can be similarly abused. Prescription drug abuse is one of the fastest growing problems in the United States. In fact, over 50 million people 12 years of age and older have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons in their lifetime. This number is staggering, especially when you consider that over 70 percent of prescription drug abusers got the medicine legally or from within their own homes.
Prescription drug abuse is easier to develop than an addiction to illegal drugs. After all, it is not illegal to have the drugs per se, and they are easier to access safely. After all, if is much less intimidating to go to a doctor’s office than to deal with a dealer. Plus, the perception is that these drugs are safe, since they are legal.
In reality, prescription drugs can be even more dangerous than illegal drugs when misused. For example, painkiller Fentanyl is at least 30 times more powerful than heroin and easier to overdose on when not taken according to doctor’s orders. Ritalin overdose can be more powerful than cocaine. When looked at in this light, it’s easy to see why prescription drug abuse is the number one reason for death by drug overdose in the United States.
Getting Charged with Drugged Driving Under Ohio’s OVI Laws
The National Association on Drug Abuse reports that the State of Ohio has more motorists driving under the influence of drugs than alcohol. As prescription drug abuse grows, it is not surprising that law enforcement agencies in Ohio are cracking down on drugged drivers. In fact, there has been a recent push by the Ohio State Highway Patrol to train police how to recognize and handle drivers who are suspected to be under the influence of prescription drugs. Officers are trained to recognize the symptoms of drugged driving and to request blood or urine tests under implied consent laws.
As a “per se” state, Ohio law states that a detectable amount of a prescription drug in person’s system can be grounds for a drugged driving arrest. If you do not have a prescription for the drug in your system, officers are likely to make a case for drugged driving under the influence of prescription drugs. Since the drug use itself was illegal, defending against drugged driving charges will be a challenge.
While more difficult to prove, you can even be accused of drugged driving when taking a prescription ordered by a doctor if used inappropriately. Under Ohio law, a person using a prescribed drug issued by a licensed health professional who had authorization to prescribe drug as directed may have an affirmative defense. Still, this type of defense can be quite complicated under current laws. If you have been arrested for driving while using prescription drugs either legally or illegally, you will need an experienced Cincinnati drug lawyer to get the best outcome possible for your case. Call (513) 338-1890 for a free consultation with Cincinnati drug lawyer Brad Groene at Luftman, Heck & Associates today.